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Five Questions to Ask Your Potential Attorney

Most people will, at some point in their lives, require the services of an attorney. Despite this need, many of those individuals don't know what to look for when searching for experienced legal counsel. Here are a few of the primary questions which you need to ask when looking for a lawyer.

How does the attorney bill and how much will your case cost?

Many people shy away from discussing billing and fees with their attorney at first, waiting for him/her to bring it as a matter of course. There is no need, however, to be afraid to talk with your lawyer about how he/she bills for the work they will do on your behalf. In fact, your attorney should be very open and willing to talk about exactly how you will be billed for his/her services. Be wary of any attorney who is not at least willing to explain how he/she bills because you don't want to be surprised when the final bill comes.

Although it is not always possible for an attorney to give a precise figure as to how much his/her representation will cost, it is often possible to provide an estimate as to the final fee. Depending on the type and complexity of the case, an attorney may charge in a variety of ways such as hourly, flat-rate, or on a contingent basis. The type of fee utilized will affect the amount you will end up paying, and your attorney should be prepared to explain how and why he/she has chosen that type for your case.

Is the attorney going to be able to respond to your needs as a client on an ongoing basis?

One of the most often heard complaints regarding attorneys is that they are unresponsive to their clients. Attorneys who fail to communicate with their clients on a regular basis are usually not indifferent to the problems of those they represent, but rather are too busy handling other issues to reply. These attorneys usually lack the administrative office support required to keep an office running smoothly, and are forced to manage day-to-day tasks on their own. On the other hand, an attorney with an experienced staff doesn't have to worry about running the office, and therefore has more time to attend to his/her clients' needs.

When searching for an attorney to represent you, make sure that he/she has a staff that is able to deal with the issues that accompany the day-to-day operation of a law office, such as answering phone calls. Your attorney may not always be able to speak with you immediately, but you want to be sure that someone can, whether it be a paralegal, secretary, etc. Indeed, sometimes it may be easier, if you have a simple question, to ask someone on your attorney's staff rather than trying to reach him/her directly.

Is the attorney experienced dealing with the area of law governing your legal issue?

Today, most attorneys practice in a particular field of law such as bankruptcy, divorce, personal injury, or criminal matters. Though it is common for many attorneys to have experience, even expertise, in several areas of the law, no attorney can master all of them. Accordingly, it is important to beware of any attorney who professes to be an expert in any case that comes through the door.

If you are looking for an attorney for a particular legal problem you are having, ask him/her about the experience he/she has practicing in that area. If he/she actually has experience in that area, he/she should be able to recount at least one recent case he/she worked on and the result. Also, don't be afraid to ask your attorney for some references. If he/she is really as good as he/she claims, your attorney should have no problem providing you with a list of references that will verify his reputation.

Is the attorney listening to your problems, asking questions, and giving feedback?

The easiest way to tell if an attorney is listening to you problem is to listen to him/her. A skilled attorney will ask questions in order to get a good sense of exactly what your legal issue is and how he/she is going to deal with it. Be careful here, though, because each attorney has his/her own style when approaching a client's legal problem. One attorney might let you talk for an hour and then spend the next thirty minutes asking you questions, while another may interrupt you after five minutes. Also keep in mind that your legal issue may not require a lot of background and just because your attorney does not ask you a lot of questions does not mean that he/she does not care about your problem.

Has the attorney explained the potential for success in your case and his ability to devote time to it?

The cold, hard truth is that many cases, although meritorious, are not winnable. There are a myriad of reasons why any particular case will not be successful. There may not be enough evidence in your favor or the defendant doesn't have any money for you to collect. Your attorney should explain to you the chances that your case will be successful and what your potential options are now and in the future should you hire him/her. It is also important to make sure that your attorney will devote sufficient time to give your case the best chance of success. Ask your attorney how difficult he/she thinks it will be to win your case and how much time he/she will spend on it. A quality attorney will discuss the pros and cons of your case with you and then make a determination as to your chances of success.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney today for experienced legal advice.

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